Meet Gavin Melton

Every day, Eimear sends her son Gavin to school with packets of Benadryl, carefully planned snacks and an EpiPen, knowing that should he need to use it, the kit will save his life.

Eimear vividly remembers the day her son, Gavin, began feeling sick. Just an hour after finishing his dinner, he was doubled over in pain and in tears. After a few bad days and some antacids, Gavin began to feel better.

But then, following his 9th birthday, Gavin passed out from intense stomach pain while at school. He was immediately rushed to the Emergency Department at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. After a host of tests, all signs pointed to Gavin as the picture of health.

“It was very scary. From November to March, we couldn’t figure out what was happening to Gavin,” says Eimear. “I feared the worst, but our pediatrician and the team took us seriously. Each time we asked for a change in medication, they followed through and they took the time to figure out how the medication made him feel.”

One evening, while on spring break, Gavin and his family were enjoying dinner, when Gavin began complaining of his eyes burning. Eimear noticed his eye was beginning to swell and realized he was going into anaphylactic shock.

Eimear immediately gave Gavin Benadryl and administered an EpiPen. It became clear: Gavin had food allergies.

Gavin returned to ACH for an upper GI scope and allergy testing. The results showed Gavin is allergic to pork, shellfish, sesame seeds, egg whites, peanuts, corn and wheat. Together, Eimear and the physicians connected each of Gavin’s pain-filled episodes to the food he was eating.

“Arkansas Children’s Hospital took great care of us,” says Eimear. “They took the time to educate Gavin and me to use the EpiPen. They showed us how to read food labels and order safely at a restaurant.”

Eimear is a nurse in the Emergency Department at ACH and has been a member of the team for 13 years. Even with all her years of training, she relied more on her motherly intuition when it came to Gavin’s care.

“Listen to your child and trust your gut,” says Eimear. “Don’t be afraid of the change, and don’t be afraid to involve your child and your entire family in this process. ACH empowered us to make these changes and to keep him safe.”

Thanks to support from donors like you, Gavin is back to the life he loves. He’s a straight A student who loves Irish dancing. He dances at the O’Donovan School of Irish Dance and competes nationally.

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